Battles, Wars and Legends

The Rig Vedic times were turbulent. Absolutely no doubt about it. Turbulent and often times violent.

There were battles, for wealth/cattle, for domination of religious and social practices, for “fertile-lands”, for offspring and most important of all – Water. For each early civilization, birth-child of rivers, control over the waters was paramount.

And there were wars – two major wars, equivalent to those mentioned in the epics, given the time and conditions in which they occurred. The first one was the war between the Panchala King Divodasa and the Dasa King Sambara and the other “Dasaranjana War” or the War of Ten Kings. An internecine war between the allies of King Sudas, a descendant of Divodasa and his enemies – an alliance of 10 Kings from other Arya tribes. A war that perhaps drained the Panchalas completely and shifted the power center to the Kurus. Just as the Mahabharata war sapped and sounded the death knell of the powerful Kauravas-Pandavas and in more recent times, WW II causing the sun to set over the British empire.

With time, victories in these battles and wars became the stuff of legends and were interwoven with the heroic deeds of Indra

There is an emerging chronology of these struggles, from primitive battles over cattle to power struggles towards the end of the glorious days of the Rig Vedic civilization. Initially, the struggles were between the Arya tribes and non-Arya tribes such as the Dasas and the Panis. As the Arya tribes spread and their domination over the non-Arya tribes increased, the power struggles between the Arya tribes seem to have begun.

Indra is said to have vanquished several Dasa Kings such as Cumuri, Dhuni, Sambara, Pipru, and Susna. These are more likely victories secured by Arya Kings but later attributed to their supreme God Indra.

Divodasa’s vanquishing the Dasa King Sambara seems to the last of the Arya-Dasa conflicts, suggesting the dominance of the Arya over the Dasa from then on, or, the two tribes chose to live happily ever after.

So was there an Aryan invasion? No, not in the sense we understand and define an invasion – one power entering into the territory of another and overrunning them completely. Not also in the time period suggested by historians belonging to that school of thought.

Yes, the Arya were not original inhabitants of India, in as much as modern humans around the world were not original inhabitants of the various continents save Africa. Yes, they arrived into India at some point in time, perhaps several millennia prior to what is believed. And when they did, they did come into conflict with a people who had settled there from a much earlier wave of migration. And as has happened all through human history, people living besides each other, they had their share of strife and struggles for common resources that sustained their very existence.

Related Links

Foes and Enemies of the Puru tribe (based on Agni hymns, Mandala VI)

Conflicts between Arya tribes and amongst Puru tribes (based on Indra hymns, Mandala VI)

The Early Conflicts

Origins of the War Drum?

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